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Chronic Sinusitis FAQs

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What is chronic sinusitis?

Sinusitis occurs when the hollow spaces around the nasal passages are inflamed. Chronic sinusitis is sinusitis for 12 or more weeks that does not respond to medical intervention.

What causes chronic sinusitis?

The most common cause of chronic sinusitis is infection from bacteria, viruses or fungi or allergies that are not well controlled. The sinuses are lined with tiny hair-like cilia that work to sweep away mucous. When infection or allergy causes the membranes in the sinuses to swell these cilia can’t do their job properly. Bacteria, viruses or even fungi can start to colonize the sinuses. In addition, growths known as polyps can block sinus passages and keep sinuses from draining properly.

What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?

The most prominent symptom is pain, pressure and a feeling of fullness around the forehead, nose, cheeks and eyes. Swelling might even be visible. Other common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Thick yellow or green discharge from nose or down the back of the throat
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the upper jaw or teeth

Who treats chronic sinusitis?

You can seek treatment for chronic sinusitis from your primary care physician, but they are not the experts in treating this condition. Your best treatment will come from an otolaryngologist or as they are commonly known, an ENT. ENTs are specially trained to treat chronic sinusitis with medical and surgical interventions.

How is chronic sinusitis treated?

First the ENT will determine this cause of the condition. This involves taking a complete medical history and performing a physical examination of your nose. In addition, an endoscope may be used to examine the sinuses and take nasal cultures. CT or MRI images may be captured. Once the cause is determined appropriate treatment will begin. This can include:

  • Decongestants
  • Allergy medications
  • Anti-fungal treatments
  • Humidifiers
  • Warm compresses
  • Saline nose drops
  • Nasal irrigation
  • Sinus surgery

There are many minimally invasive surgical procedures that can be used to treat chronic sinusitis. If you have sinusitis that occurs over and over again or if you have sinusitis that won’t go away, call the ENT and schedule an appointment for an evaluation today.